Army Futures Command (AFC) Commander Gen. John Murray had stern words regarding the reported disqualification of Raytheon and Rheinmetall’s joint bid on the optionally-manned fighting vehicle (OMFV) competition to replace the Army’s Bradleys.
“We have been exceptionally consistent and open with industry for better than a year and a half—what it is we need, when bid samples were due,” Murray said. “And we had a competitor that did not make that.”
Defense News reported that Rheinmetall had difficulties in transporting their Lynx 41 model to Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland prior to the October 1 deadline due to negotiations with local municipality governments and requested a month extension to deliver the bid.
General Dynamics Land Systems Director of Global Strategy Keith Barclay said it’s a “pretty routine” requirement to have to organize that transportation.
“The Army for at least two years has been incredibly communicative,” Barclay said. “They have been consistent and make great partners.”
Murray said Rheinmetall and Raytheon’s disqualification “put the Army in a hard place … because we can either delay and then face possibly a protest or we can just stick with what we’ve been saying for a year and a half.”
Raytheon spokesperson John Patterson said Rheinmetall and Raytheon are declining to comment until future notice.
Raytheon and Rheinmetall’s disqualification leaves General Dynamics Land Systems as the only expected bidder on the project after BAE Systems chose not to continue in June.
BAE Systems spokesperson Alicia Gray said in a statement that “Following careful evaluation, BAE Systems has decided the requirements and acquisition schedule [for the OMFV] … do not align with our current focus or development priorities.”
BAE Systems, instead, is focusing on other Next Generation Combat Vehicles programs, including Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), which BAE was awarded a low-rate production contract for in February, and Mobile Protected Fire (MPF). At AUSA this week, BAE Systems displayed their Robotic Technology Demonstrator to show their capabilities when it comes to competing for the Army’s Robotic Combat Vehicle (RCV) program.
Murray said it was a too premature to worry about competition while the program was still in the prototyping phase.
“If there’s somebody out there that’s got a viable solutions for what we said that we want, consistently,” Murray said, “this will be opened up again for competition once we get to [low-rate initial production] phase,” which is expected in Q3 of fiscal year 2023.